Poor vocals blight this bright, if directionless, Italian electro-pop
Label: Independent (http://bonahead.bandcamp.com/album/the-path)
Time: 15 Tracks / 52 minutes
With its vivid artwork and tag of “an electro concept-album with a symphonic atmosphere,” I was looking forward to this disc and it started well. The instrumental “Incipit” was a simple, bubbling lead-in piece, whose fresh and clear tones match the cover.
Head (born Roberto Bonazzoli) has created a set of tracks that, as he puts it, “contains the introspective changes that Bona has gone through in all phases of his life. The entire album describes this ‘journey’ through the vision of oneiric landscapes..” (I had to look it up too: it means ‘pertaining to dreams’.)
So we get tracks like “Way Out” and “Return to the Path” that tell his story (in English) with mixed success. “Chasm” sums up the disc. Its synth-pop riff bends and hovers over a pulsing bottom end, again with bright, clear musical colours. Then the vocals come in, at which point it is plain that Bonazzoli finds it hard to keep pitch. This is one time when I would be happy to hear auto-tune.
The Bandcamp page reveals that he was part of a band for three albums before branching into solo work, of which this is the second collection. I can picture his lush keyboards working well in a band, where the workload is shared. But solo work exposes weaknesses that a band would hide. There is nowhere to run.
He does bring other musicians back in for acoustic guitar and drum machine programming, but the rest (vocals, keyboards, guitar and programming) is his. There are occasional bursts of electric guitar that add punch, but these come in the wrong places, such as early on in "Unreal World," after which the track loses its punch. Vanessa Borrini sometimes adds her backing vocals, which partly hide his, but still show up his pitch problems by contrast.
The writing also needs some help, the decent germs of ideas often failing to develop and instead becoming dirges (“Call” and “The Path” for example). The instrumentals would be fine if the songs were stronger, but these are too slight on their own to recommend downloading.
If you think this might suit you, you can try out the whole release on Bandcamp for free. "Incipit", "Reassuring Plains" and "The Path" are the best places to start.